The High Line could have been a swimming pool

Next time you’re strolling along the High Line, imagine yourself swimming it instead. If an idea generated from a contest had panned out, it might have been your city summer cool-off destination.


Back in 2003, the advocacy group Friends of the High Line held a contest seeking innovative ideas for the rusty, weedy rail viaduct that once brought goods in and out of the factories of the lower west side.

Highlinelappoolcontestentry2More than 700 entries from 36 countries were eventually displayed in Grand Central Terminal—among them a cow pasture, a wild meadow, and a roller coaster.

But probably the most whimsical entry  came from architectural student Nathalie Rinne from Vienna. She envisioned the High Line as a slender lap pool, a thread of blue amid brown and red warehouses and tenements.

The lap pool never stood much of a chance; the contest was mostly a way to get people thinking and generate support. In 2004, a traditional design contest resulted in the beautiful park that is the High Line today.

Yet on a sweaty summer day when even the breeze from the Hudson make the High Line feel stifling, a swimming pool won’t seem like such an impossible idea.

[Images: Friends of the High Line/Nathalie Rinne]

Tags: , , , , , ,

10 Responses to “The High Line could have been a swimming pool”

  1. Maya Says:

    That would have been a fantastic idea. I’m over in Brooklyn and I often wonder if they would ever dig to bring the Gowanus expressway / BQE underground and turn that highway into a park in the sky! Now that you’ve written about the pool idea, I feel that that’s the way to go, hands down.

    Probably not in my lifetime, but a girl can dream (and she will!)

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I’d love to see a streetcar line go up the Brooklyn/Queens waterfront. Not the same idea as a high line park in the sky, but a nice way to get from Red Hook to LIC.

  3. Rich T Says:

    Apparently swim wear was to be optional in the High Line swimming pool.

  4. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Maybe it’s a nod to the West Side piers’ infamous past?

  5. Joe R Says:

    Actually, that nude swimmer is taken off a well-known painting by British artist David Hockney.

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Ah, good find!

  7. arrowsmith Says:

    Very cheeky.

  8. Katie perry Says:

    My Mom grew up in Hell’s Kitchen..remembered cowboys on horses riding along with cattle cars on Highline..that was the like 1935-1945

  9. P. Gavan Says:

    I would have loved a roller coaster! I sometimes dream that I’m on the New York subway, but the cars are more like those on roller coasters, and the subway does loops and twists and drops just like a coaster. Now that would be a fun way to get around!

  10. What remains of the other end of the High Line | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] High Line Park stretches along the West Side from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street, following the original tracks of the 1934 elevated railway — which trucked raw materials and finished goods in and out of Manhattan’s once-bustling factories. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: